The lovers of Obscure tanks will be in heaven over the next month or so – with the release of Meng’s A-39 Tortoise and now with the impending release from the Japanese company Amusing Hobby of the Panzer VII Löwe as opposition – the ideas are forming for a diorama in my head already!! Let’s have a look at some of the preview images we have of the model…
The latests kit from Amusing Hobby has many great features that make it look like an interesting proposition from the modeller’s point of view. The pictures show workable suspension and flexible tracks. Slightly textured armour along with all of the tools and OVM you would need to get the tank out of trouble. It sure is big!
The Panzer VII Löwe (or Lion) tank started development as early as 1941, when Krupp was performing studies of super-heavy Soviet tanks.
In November 1941, it was specified that the new heavy tank was to have 140mm front armour and 100mm side armour. The vehicle was to be operated by five men crew - three in the turret and two in the hull. This new Panzer was to have a maximum speed of some 44km/h being powered by a 1,000hp Daimler-Benz marine engine used in German S-Boots (motor torpedo boats). The main armament was to be mounted in the turret. The weight was to be up to 90 tons.
In the early months of 1942, Krupp started to design the PzKpfw VII Löwe (VK7201). - based on a previous project by Krupp designated VK7001 (Tiger-Maus) and created in competition with Porsche's designs (including first Maus designs).VK7001 was to be armed with either 150mm Kanone L/37 (or L/40) or 105mm KwK L/70 gun. Löwe was to utilize Tiger II's components in order to simplify the production and service.
Designers planned to build two variants of this streamlined vehicle with rear mounted turret. The Leichte (Light) variant would have frontal armour protection of 100mm and it would weigh around 76 tons. The Schwere (Heavy) variant would have frontal armour protection of 120mm and it would weigh around 90 tons. Both variants would be armed with 105mm L/70 gun and coaxial machine gun. It is known that 90ton Schwere Löwe was to have its turret mounted centrally and in overall design resembled the future Tiger II. Variants of the Löwe were both to be operated by the crew of five. It was calculated that their maximum speed would range from 23km/h (Schwere) to 27km/h (Leichte).
Adolf Hitler ordered that the design Leichte Löwe was to be dropped in favor of Schwere Löwe. The Löwe was to be redesigned in order to carry 150mm L/40 or 150mm L/37 (probably 150mm KwK 44 L/38) gun and its frontal armor protection was to be changed to 140mm. In order to improve its performance, 900-1,000mm wide tracks were to be used and top speed was to be increased to 30km/h.
In late 1942, this project was cancelled in favour of the Porsche development of the Maus. During the development of Tiger II, designers planned to build a redesigned version of the Löwe (as suggested by Oberst Fichtner), which would be armed with 88mm KwK L/71 gun and its frontal armour protection would be 140mm (as planned before). This re-designed Löwe would be able to travel at a maximum speed of 35km/h and it would weigh around 90 tons. It was to be powered by a Maybach HL 230 P 30, 12-cylinder engine producing 800hp. Löwe would be 7.74 meters long (with the gun), 3.83 meters wide and 3.08 meters high. Löwe would be operated by a crew of five. It was planned that the Löwe would eventually replace Tiger II.
From February to May of 1942, six different designs were considered, all based on the requirements for Löwe. On March 6, 1942, the order for a heavier tank was placed and project Löwe was stopped in July 1942. The Löwe project never reached the prototype stage, but it paved the way for its successor's development - Porsche‘s 188 ton Maus.
I am having trouble with the link but keep on checking back to see more from this great company on their site